Some years ago, I recall a professor who announced that (in the United States) charging someone an annual interest rate of 24% or more was considered usury.

The other day, someone I know in the United States received an unsolicited offer for a Toyota credit card that specified a 31.74% annual APR interest rate for cash advances and interest rates for "Toyota Rewards Visa Card Purchases" raging between 20.74% and 29.74% depending upon cred "worthiness."

QUESTION: Does this not constitute usury anymore in the U. S.? Does the United States have usury laws anymore; if so, what might they be?

I ask this because, for example, if someone borrowed, say, $100,000 at 31.74% and paid virtually nothing on the balance, the debt would rise to $200,000 in a little over two years. This seems to me, that without just usury laws, Americans are subjected to a "legal" form of gouging.

  • This is mostly a matter of state law.
    – ohwilleke
    May 13 at 22:19
  • @ohwilleke Has that pretty much always been the case, or was there ever a federal usury law? May 13 at 22:50
  • 1
    Usury has always been predominantly state law. Federal usury laws are piecemeal and much, much later.
    – ohwilleke
    May 13 at 22:55

1 Answer 1


There is no usury on Credit Cards in the USA

Legally, usury is charging interest rates above the mandated maximum. Due to ongoing successful lobbying by card providers, there is no maximum on credit cards. Some protections around disclosure and transparency were passed in 2009, which is why you can so easily quote the figures.

However, even in jurisdictions where there are caps, the rates you quote may not exceed them. For example, in Australia, the maximum rate is 48%.

  • 1
    +1 Thank you for posting this answer; would you know if there was ever a maximum rate on credit card rates in the U.S.? Would you know when the cap became 48% in AU? May 13 at 22:53
  • 2
    Not fully true. Most credit card companies are based in a state without an usury law but state law of the state where a customer resides can also apply.
    – ohwilleke
    May 13 at 22:56

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